Conroe ISD plans campus renovations over the summer
When Conroe Independent School District students return to their schools this August, some of their classrooms might look a little different.
That’s because the Conroe ISD’s planning and construction teams have been working around the clock to ensure students educational needs are being met. This summer will be no different, said Easy Foster, administrative director of Planning and Construction for the district.
CISD has roughly nine weeks to finish two brand-new schools, Katherine Clark Intermediate School and Grand Oaks High School, both scheduled to open on Aug. 15, alongside the district’s other 61 campuses. As of May, Grand Oaks and Clark were 88 and 81 percent complete respectively, according to a capital improvements update from the district.
The summer is also the perfect time for the district to complete projects it otherwise wouldn’t be able to complete due to students being in the classroom, Foster noted.
“For what we’re doing this summer, we actually got board approval in November of 2017 and we started doing that work in January - we call it Lifecycle,” Foster said. “We do what we can without disrupting classrooms. Up until summer break. We use spring break to do some work while students and faculty are gone, but the bigger disruptive work happens over the summer for the most part.”
Grand Oaks High School will be located in south Montgomery County and will cost the district about $154 million, while Clark Intermediate will cost about $26.3 million.
One project slated for construction this summer includes replacing the gym and cafeteria floor at Bush Elementary School, which is fairly uncommon, Foster said.
The lifespan of the floors is about 20 to 25 years, Foster said, noting that Bush Elementary School was built in 1996, making it 22 years old. But it’s definitely the type of project that requires little to no foot traffic, he added.
At The Woodlands-College Park High School, Cavaliers will see the area around their pole vault much improved as the crews will be making some alterations to the pole runaways and landing pads so that they’re all consistent from campus to campus, Foster said.
In the past, Foster’s team and district contractors have repaved tennis courts, replaced stadiums signs, restriped track and field runways and rebuilt classrooms. The projects were funded by a $487 million bond referendum in 2015.
The Conroe ISD Board of Trustees is considering a new bond for voters as early as May 2019. Discussions will take place throughout the summer and into the fall about how or whether to proceed with the proposed bond.
Before the district can start any new project, it has to do “a comprehensive facility assessment,” Foster said.
“We say bond planning, but what we’re doing this summer is a comprehensive facility assessment,” Foster said. We’re reviewing our existing facilities, making sure we have an accurate snapshot of what we know needs to be included in our Lifecycle over the next one to two years, two to four years, four to five years.”
Later in the process, an architecture firm and a planning group helps the district it with facility conditioning, Foster said.
“If we don’t do that conditioning, we don’t know what’s wrong, and we can’t make plans to go fix it,” he said.
The Conroe ISD Board of Trustees is scheduled to meet on June 19, where Foster will give a presentation of the most recent capital projects planned for the summer.